This past weekend was Pro Tour Magic 2015. And while early predictions were that there would be relatively little impact from Magic 2015 on Standard, we have nevertheless seen some new / cool innovations; plus adjustments and angles on old favorites.
So in part in celebration of the newly-past Pro Tour; and in greater part that we're all just moving forward and will have to learn some of the new decks, I thought I'd do a Make the Play Monday / Flores Rewards Friday around some of the new (and even new-old) lists.
Today, we'll look at some opening hands from four different decks from the Top 8 of Pro Tour Magic 2015:
● Ivan Floch's UW Control● Yuuki Ichikawa's Jund Superfriends● Matt Sperling's Boros Burn● Peach Garden Oath's Orzhov Control
For any of these, imagine you are in a game one situation and that you do not know what archetype your opponent is playing.
Floch's version of UW Control leans heavily on Quicken and uses Planar Cleansing in addition to Supreme Verdict to defend the battlefield. As a Planar Cleansing deck, this version does not use Detention Sphere so it is more powerful against decks that accumulate their advantages on the board (various Superfriends decks and others); but must compromise on the speed with which it can deal with non-creature permanents.
What do you think of this opener?
Jace, Architect of Thought Sphinx's Revelation Supreme Verdict Quicken Syncopate Hallowed Fountain Plains
Question One: Keep or ship with UW Control on the play?Question Two: Keep or ship with UW Control on the draw?
The most popular versions of Jund decks -- especially Jund Midrange -- prior to Magic 2015 were Jund Monsters decks, using those first turn Elvish Mystics to get Domri Rade and explode over time with Polukranos, World Eater and Stormbreath Dragon.
Instead the Top 8 of Magic 2015 gave us two different looks at a Jund deck that was dedicated to a different brand of permanent. Yuuki Ichikawa's version in fact played four copies of one of the highest profile Mythic Rare cards in the new set: Nissa, Worldwaker.
Ichikawa played seven other Planeswalkers in his main deck, in addition to an astounding number of game-winning bombs, generally.
How about this hand that doesn't have any of the boom booms starting?
Thoughtseize Abrupt DecayLlanowar Wastes Temple of Abandon Temple of Malice Forest Forest
Question Three: Keep or ship with Jund Superfriends on the play?Question Four: Keep or ship with Jund Superfriends on the draw?
Boros Burn got a surprising lift out of Magic 2015: Stoke the Flames.
Isn't that just a crappy Warleader's Helix?
On its face, Stoke the Flames might not look like the most exciting new spell, especially given its lack of Warleader's Helix's direct up-side, but it has a special ability from just being non-white. Anyone else see Stoke the Flames burn out a Blood Baron of Vizkopa on camera?
Stoke the Flames's Convoke actually has some subtle synergy with Young Pyromancer. If you're in the business of making a bunch of little guys, it can give you something to do with them other than not get through Jace, Architect of Thought.
And of course, Battlefield Forge goes straight into the existing shell.
This one might be a temple-tickler:
Boros Charm Chandra's Phoenix Eidolon of the Great Revel Searing BloodYoung Pyromancer Young Pyromancer Mountain
I assume most folks would snap-ship this hand on the play, so we'll only ask...
Question Five: Keep or ship with Boros Burn on the draw?
Two-thirds of the Peach Garden Oath, William "Baby Huey" Jensen and Owen Turtenwald, took the Pantheon's Orzhov Conrol deck to the Top 8 of Pro Tour Magic 2015 (Celebrity Guests both!).
We've long talked about the Monoblack Devotion macro and its sub-archetypes (primarily Bg Devotion) as being the strongest overall strategy in Standard (with Lifebane Zombie probably being the strongest, or at least most format-restrictive, threat).
With the addition of Caves of Koilos, the archetype has been able to go super deep on white mana -- Obzedat, Ghost Council on five and Elspeth, Sun's Champion on six -- giving the deck a very different end game than straight black versions and a bustier one than Bg. At the same time, it can still get a heavy-handed aggro draw.
Desecration DemonPack RatPack RatThoughtseizeElspeth, Sun's ChampionCaves of KoilosSwamp
Question Six: Keep or ship Orzhov Control on the play?
If this is your first time with Make the Play Monday, the game is simple.
As you've already read, I've posed some game play questions; in this case there were six of them (but at least they weren't uber involved). It's your job to post your answers in the comments below.
1. The goal of Make the Play Monday (and its companion column Flores Rewards Friday) is to throw out some common / plausible game scenarios. Games of Magic are really just chains of decisions; so hopefully reasoning through those chains will empower readers to deal with them better when similar ones come up in-game. So you wanna learn how to play like a Pro? This column is meant to give you at least a wink at that.
2. Prizes! Like I said, post your answers to today's six questions in the comments below. Every week we review the answers to the Monday questions on Friday. I give my two cents, plus I am joined by a Celebrity Guest who gives his opinion as well (three such Celebrity Guests were shuffling up in the Top 8 of Pro Tour Magic 2015). One lucky reader who agrees with my take will win a $25 TCGplayer.com gift certificate, and one more who agrees with the week's Celebrity Guest will win another $25 TCGplayer.com gift certificate.
Remember to answer these six mulligan questions:
● Question One: Keep or ship with UW Control on the play?● Question Two: Keep or ship with UW Control on the draw?● Question Three: Keep or ship with Jund Superfriends on the play?● Question Four: Keep or ship with Jund Superfriends on the draw?● Question Five: Keep or ship with Boros Burn on the draw?● Question Six: Keep or ship with Orzhov Control on the play?
You don't have-have to "show your work" but some Celebrity Guests like well-reasoned arguments and have chosen winners based on a favorite response.
Let's get to it!